One of the most commonly mentioned issues by leaders of organizations in my client community is the lack of execution and follow through. This critical issue spans from lack of follow up calls by the sales team to entire projects stalled or abandoned due to lack of execution and accountability up and down the hierarchy.
There are a number of causes of lack of execution and accountability. I will touch on some of them here as a primer. Given the enormity of the issue across all types of organizations, I will devote more time in future writing to this set of topics and offer some real solutions. These issues can be solved. In the meantime they are costing your organization time and money. Lack of execution and accountability also contributes to low performance cultures and morale. Who wants to work with a team that never celebrates the victories of completed projects, big deals won and new initiatives delivering results?
- Communication lacks clarity and specificity. This was really hammered home to me once when a colleague showed me a graphic illustrating how many people in an organization hear a message but do not retain it, how many understand the message and take no action, how many want to take action but do not know how and of course the smallest number of all; how many hear the message and take action. It is scary and if you are a leader of an organization you should be scared.
- Top to bottom and bottom to top accountability is lacking. If the senior leadership do not keep each other accountable then it is unlikely that middle management is accountable and if middle management is not accountable then the rest of the organization is not accountable. Guess what you have? A crappy paralyzed culture that will slip into to a ‘doom loop’ if it has not done so already.
- Nobody is listening. We all remember the ‘voice of the customer’ as a big thing a decade or so ago, [it is still important]. How many leaders and managers really listen to their people? I mean really listen. I have worked with firms who have implemented collaboration platforms to try to alleviate this and the people are too shit scared to be honest enough to make a difference. I bet most people doubt whether the leadership would even acknowledge, let alone, take action on input from employees. If things are not getting done, it could be that people have some input and ideas on why this is happening.
There is another biggie that can be added to this list; the organization has not strategic objectives. Most people would be amazed to realize that many businesses do not have strategies let alone a business plan.
I will dive more deeply into this topic area in future posts. This whole issue of execution is a big deal and there are a lot of facets to the issue. I will do my best to offer some ideas for solutions.